Saturday, July 20, 2013

Zen Cuisine

Tenryu-ji, Kyoto (Jun 3, 2012)

Sagano bamboo forest
For our last free day in Kyoto (the next day Mayli was to start her meeting and I was to head back to Tokyo and the US) we decided to go to Arashiyama. The "storm mountain" is an actual mountain on the outskirts of Kyoto, but also a nice village that can be easily reached by train. Our first destination was the Tenryu-ji, the head temple of the homonymous branch of Zen Buddism. The temple is famous for her pond, which is indeed beautiful, with plenty of flowers and giant mosquitos (see photo above). Just outside the temple there is also a very famous bamboo forest (see photo on the left), which in itself is worth the trip (I really like bamboo). The main surprise of the day, however, was the Shigetsu Zen restaurant within the temple. Housed in a large hall covered by tatami mats, it has a very tasty and refined vegan menu. You sit on the mats and eat, crouching on the floor in front of the tiny tables that are placed in front of you together with the multi-course food. With our typical (un)preparedness we had no idea about the restaurant, which turned out to be one of the best meals we had in Kyoto, and provided us the needed nourishment for the adventure that was to follow (but this is for tomorrow's post).

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